Sir Thomas Malory, His Turbulent Career: A Biography

By Edward Hicks | Go to book overview

Chapter VIII
THE RAID ON COOMBE ABBEY

TWO things in particular are to be noted regarding the attacks on Coombe Abbey: that the first was made within twenty-four hours of Sir Thomas Malory's dramatic escape from the Sheriff's custody, and that the second attack came twenty-four hours later. That Malory should have renewed the assault in this way seems almost incredible; it may be that he was not personally concerned with the second attack, but was held responsible for it by the monastic authorities. Another theory, and probably the correct one, is that the two alleged attacks were one and the same affair. Once in possession of the Abbey during the Wednesday night, the rioters must have seized whatever Sir Thomas Malory claimed or they themselves fancied; there could have been no occasion to renew the attack on the following night. It would seem that we have here merely an instance of the regular legal fashion of describing the same offence, or parts of the same offences, in distinct counts. As Judge Parry humorously remarks of the oldstyle indictment: "How careful they were in the old days. One count of the Indictment would allege that the murderer was holding his knife in the right hand, another count thought it was his left, another alleged neither hand, and the last count always wound up by saying that the victim was murdered by means to the said jury unknown."1

____________________
1
Judge Edward A. Parry, What the Judge Thought, p. 76.

-43-

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